This a book about manipulation. By that I mean, “to influence, or play upon another, by devious means, for one’s own advantage.” It is a practice common to our society and all too common among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most of us are a bit sensitive to being manipulated. Few of us are sensitive to the fact that we too are manipulators. Manipulation is of the devil and is central to his initial plan as well as his current attempts to destroy us. To the degree that we practice manipulation we are, whether deliberately or inadvertently, serving the father of lies and contributing to the destruction of our fellow travelers. It will take some courage and self examination on your part if you are to proceed, with me, into the examples that follow. I think you will be painfully surprised at what you might discover. Fear not, you are in good company. The discovery of the subtle and insidious ways in which I have practiced manipulation was very dismaying. On the flip side, the discovery of what can happen when manipulation is avoided in my relationships with other has been magnificent beyond belief.
My education has been more like that of the Donner Party; too risky and dangerous to recommend to those who might wish to pursue the curriculum. It started out with an educational short cut, a whole lot of misinformation and just plain lazy foolishness. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but you might enjoy being a fly on the wall observing some of those adventures to see what, if anything, I’ve learned. If you’d rather take the chance of discovering these things for yourself, go right ahead. I made it through. But, I know several who have not. My success cannot be attributed to any quality of skill or resilience on my part. Neither, can it be said that I had somehow deserved to survive such a dangerous course.
While I could have saved myself a whole lot of heartache; and while I most certainly caused pain and hardship for many, as I careened from train wreck to train wreck; I harbor no regrets. So valuable has been this education and so priceless the results, that I would be utterly ungrateful were I to wish it had been otherwise. I have had to make amends to so many in the wake of my insanity, but have yet to have anyone be unwilling to forgive. Of course that fact is a reflection on the quality of their character, not mine.
This is not my story alone, but also that of all my compatriots in error. We’ve grown out of affliction together and mine can never be an isolated story disconnected from the stories of the others. These are stories of redemption, discovery, miracles and majesty, because they all involved coming unto Christ. Most of us would tell you, that our affliction was the catalyst that at last stimulated a reliance on the Atonement and that we likely wouldn’t have come unto Christ in any other way. We were too full of pride to think we needed a Savior until our choices made turning to Him our only remaining option.
I originally set out to write this book to be published and sold. I soon discovered that I was watering it down in an effort to make it more sellable. As this is a book about manipulation and as the watering down of the work would be manipulative, I decided not to publish a bound edition. You can read it here in its entirety, for free. You may also quote from it or use it in any fashion so long as you cite your source.
Now, please don’t expect this work to be doom and gloom. On the contrary it is all about the Good News that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Good news that in my case 55 years of church activity failed to teach me. I’m not blaming the church, nor my parents and teachers for this. I’m blaming pride. You may discover a whole new perspective on pride in these pages. Turn the page and see…